Govt to encourage FDI in education, set up national police and forensic science universities

The government will encourage external commercial borrowings and FDI in the education sector for financing infrastructure, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Saturday.
Setting up a National Police University and a National Forensic Science University, linking medical colleges to a district hospital through the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode to meet the shortage of qualified doctors, degree-level full-fledged online education programmes in top 100 institutions and holding the Ind-SAT exam in Asian and African countries for benchmarking foreign students interested in studying in India are some of the proposals made in the budget presented by Sitharaman on Saturday.
Presenting the budget for 2020-21, the finance minister said an amount of Rs 99,300 crore was allocated for the education sector and another amount of Rs 3,000 crore for skill development. “It is felt that our education system needs a greater inflow of finance to attract talented teachers, innovate and build better labs. Therefore, steps would be taken to enable sourcing of external commercial borrowings and foreign direct investment so as to be able to deliver higher-quality education,” she said in the budget speech.
“A National Police University and a National Forensic Science University are being proposed in the domain of policing science, forensic science, cyber-forensics etc,” Sitharaman said.
She added that the new national education policy will be announced soon.
“By 2030, India is set to have the largest working-age population in the world. Not only do they need literacy, but they need both jobs and life skills. Dialogues have been held with state education ministries, MPs and other stakeholders about the education policy. Over two lakh suggestions were received. The new education policy will be announced soon,” the finance minister said.
In order to boost employability of general stream students, about 150 higher educational institutions will start apprenticeship-embedded degrees or diploma courses by March 2021.
Similarly, for the students of technology streams, the government has proposed to start a programme whereby urban local bodies across the country would provide internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a period of up to one year.
“In order to provide quality education to the students of the deprived section of the society as well as those who do not have access to higher education, it is proposed to start a degree-level, full-fledged online education programme. This shall be offered only by institutions who are ranked within top 100 in the National Institutional Ranking framework. Initially, only a few such institutions would be asked to offer such programmes,” Sitharaman said.
With an aim to boost the “Study in India” programme, the government has proposed to hold Ind-SAT in Asian and African countries.
“India should be a preferred destination for higher education. Hence, under the ‘Study in India’ programme, Ind-SAT is proposed to be held in Asian and African countries. It shall be used for benchmarking foreign candidates who receive scholarships for studying in Indian higher education centres,” the finance minister said.